2022 Subaru Forester Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons.
Everywhere consumers turn, they are bombarded with compact crossover SUV options. While SUVs, in general, have gained in popularity, the appeal of the smaller ones seems to have grown the most. They work well for a variety of drivers, such as those looking for a personal commuter and smaller families.
Subaru has modified a few of its vehicles to fit into the SUV category. When the Forester originally hit the scene decades ago, it would have best been described as a wagon. Now, it is definitely a compact crossover SUV, and it has a lot of charm.
If a driver decides that the 2022 Subaru Forester is the way to go, they are then going to need to decide which of the six trim levels will best serve them. This year sees the introduction of a brand new option as well. There is approximately a $10,000 difference between the entry-level model and the top trim. As a result, buyers will want to make sure they do not get a fancier Forester than they really need.
By detailing the differences between each 2022 Subaru Forester trim level, the following guide will help drivers find their perfect fit.
Compare the Base vs Premium Trims. What is the difference?
When it comes to what is underneath the hood of the 2022 Forester, it does not matter if drivers choose the entry-level model of the top Touring trim. This SUV goes with a 2.5L four-cylinder engine that makes 182-horsepower in addition to 176 lb-ft of torque. A continuously variable transmission is also standard, along with Subaru's famous symmetrical all-wheel drive. The base Subaru Forester has an impressive 8.7-inches of ground clearance.
Underneath the base model are 17-inch steel wheels. Aluminum-alloy 17-inch wheels are optional. There are steering-responsive LED headlights and black manually-folding side mirrors. Raised roof rails are also available for this trim.
Due to the lack of a moonroof, the base Forester is the most spacious. It has 111.6 cubic feet of passenger space, as opposed to the 107.6 cubic feet found in other trim levels. As far as cargo space goes, the entry-level trim has up to 74.2 cubic feet, which is a fair bit more than the 69.1 cubic feet offered up in any other Forester version.
There are manually-adjustable front seats and 60/40 split-folding rear seats found inside the Forester. This model also goes with cloth upholstery. It does have automatic climate control, although it is only single-zone. The sound system has only four speakers, and this relatively bare-bones model has a 6.5-inch touchscreen. On the plus side, the infotainment system does include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The full EyeSight Driver Assist Technology Package comes standard with all Forester models. It includes pre-collision throttle management, pre-collision braking, sway warning, lane departure warning, and advanced adaptive cruise control. Automatic high beams are also standard, along with a tire pressure monitoring system. LED daytime running lights top off the standard safety feature list for the base 2022 Forester.
There is only one package available for the entry-level model. Called the Alloy Wheel Package, it includes the upgrade to 17-inch alloys along with raised roof rails. There are several stand-alone options available as well, including a cargo net, USB charging ports, and a set of fixed crossbars.
The starting price for the Premium model is exactly $3,000 higher than the base version. It is the same underneath the hood but does upgrade to 17-inch alloy wheels with a black finish. This model is also home to fog lights and a roof spoiler. The side mirrors remain manually folding, but they are now body-colored rather than black. They also gain heat, and there is a windshield wiper de-icer as well.
A panoramic moonroof is standard starting with the Premium model. While this does cut down on interior space, it also lets in plenty of light and air. The interior gains power-adjustable front seats, as well as a leather-wrapped shifter handle and steering wheel. In the back, there is a fold-down rear armrest with two cupholders. Dual rear USB charging ports are available. There are no real tech upgrades, other than the addition of two more speakers for the sound system.
When comparing the base and Premium, the driver aids are identical. Unlike the entry-level model, however, the Premium offers blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert on its available feature list. The Forester Premium also comes standard with the StarLink safety and security package, which includes monthly vehicle health reports, automatic collision notification, and more.
Compare the Premium vs Sport Trims. What is the difference?
For approximately $1,500 more, buyers can move up to the Sport trim. This model moves up to 18-inch wheels but sticks with the black finish on the aluminum. The fog lights get upgraded to LED, and the side mirrors gain turn signal integration. A single chrome exhaust is found on the back.
Inside, this midlevel trim gets unique "sport cloth" upholstery that features orange accents. All models have a multifunction display that shows drivers info on the average vehicle speed, average fuel economy, ambient temperature, and more. The Forester Sport is the first model to add color to this display.
Adding to the athletic feel of this model are paddle shifters on the steering wheel. The rear charging ports that were optional for the Premium model are included automatically when buyers choose the Sport. Although the same infotainment setup is still standard, this trim does offer the upgrade as well. It gives the Forester an 8-inch touchscreen along with voice-activated controls.
Another tech option for the Forester Sport is a premium audio system. Made by Harman Kardon, it features nine speakers. It also has a 576-watt equivalent amplifier. This system is great for listening to HD radio, which is standard for the Forester Sport trim level and higher.
Blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert are standard Sport features. This version of the Forester is the first to offer reverse automatic emergency braking as well. It monitors the area behind the SUV when in reverse and can stop the Forester in an attempt to avoid a collision.
Compare the Sport vs Wilderness Trims. What is the difference?
The next option is the brand new Wilderness model. Perhaps the most important thing to know about this model is the fact that it goes up to 9.2-inches of ground clearance, as opposed to the 8.7-inches most models have. This is useful for off-roading in certain situations. On the downside, it dramatically drops the fuel economy. On the highway, the Wilderness is estimated to get 28mpg, which is five fewer than the other Forester models. City driving is not impacting as much, with the estimate being 25mpg. That is only one fewer mile per gallon than the rest of the lineup.
There is more than just the ground clearance that is impacting the fuel economy. The Wilderness is also the heaviest model in the Forester family. At 3,620 pounds, it weighs nearly 200 pounds more than the base model. It weighs approximately 70 pounds more than the other trim levels.
The Wilderness trim goes back down to 17-inch wheels but has a matte black rather than a gloss black finish for them. It is the only Forester model to come standard with all-terrain tires. The fog lights are still LED, but they have a hexagonal design. As far as the roof rails go, the Wilderness trim is the only model to add Andonized Copper accents. While other models can only handle 176 pounds on the roof rails, the Sport can bring along up to 800 pounds.
Inside the Wilderness model, drivers find water-repellant upholstery. The rear seats get a one-touch folding feature for added convenience. Choosing the Wilderness trim or higher will also mean finally upgrading to dual-zone automatic climate control. The 8-inch touchscreen becomes standard, and an even more sophisticated infotainment setup with navigation is available.
Reverse automatic emergency braking is standard for the 2022 Forester Wilderness. This trim level also has a 180-degree front-view camera. There are a variety of optional add-ons for this model that have been specifically designed for it as well. Highlights include carpeted floor mats, a heavy-duty door scuff protector, and an engine under guard for added protection on rough terrain. It is also worth noting that the Wilderness is the only Forester to come with a full-size spare tire in 2022.
Compare the Wilderness vs Limited Trims. What is the difference?
The Limited model moves away from ruggedness in favor of more luxury. It goes back up to 18-inch wheels and has the same all-season tires that most models come with. The fog lights are not LED for this model, for whatever reason. Going with the Limited will also mean having the 176-pound limit for the roof rails.
Leather-trimmed upholstery is standard for the Limited model. A heated steering wheel is on the options list. Moving back to standard features, the Limited has a power liftgate that features automatic close and a height memory function. Reverse automatic emergency braking becomes optional, and the 180-degree camera system is not available for the Forester Limited. Drivers should be aware that the Limited actually costs a few hundred dollars less than the Wilderness model.
Compare the Limited vs Touring. What is the difference?
The most expensive and fully-loaded version of the 2022 Forester is the Touring. It sticks with 18-inch wheels, but they have an exclusive dark gray finish. LED fog lights make their way back to the standard feature list, but they do not have the hexagonal shape found on the Wilderness. Rather than black or body-colored side mirrors, the Touring has a chrome satin finish.
Both the side mirrors and the driver's seat gain two-position memory settings. The Touring model has the upgraded infotainment system that has navigation included. It is also the only model that comes standard with the nine-speaker Harman Kardon premium sound system.
Reverse automatic emergency braking is once again included when buyers choose the Touring. This top trim also has an exclusive driver distraction monitoring system. It is intended to alert the driver if their focus seems to be drifting, and can even tell if their face has turned away from the road.
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Which Trim to Choose?
The 2022 Subaru Forester does a good job of offering a little something for everyone. While the base model is a bit underwhelming, its relatively low price tag will appeal to those shopping on a budget. The fact that the Forester has standard all-wheel drive makes the price of the entry-level Forester even more enticing.
Unless a driver plans on doing a lot of off-roading, the Wilderness trim is worth skipping. The reduction of fuel economy makes this model pricey, especially for those who do a lot of highway driving. The top trims have a few nice touches, but there are not enough to justify the added expense.
One of the best things about the Forester is the fact that it makes a safe and convenient SUV affordable. For that reason, the Premium trim level is the way to go. It adds important features like heated front seats, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and a power-adjustable driver's seat, without increasing the price tag too dramatically.
The 2022 Subaru Forester Premium is the right choice for those who want a well-equipped SUV that will not break the bank.
• 2021 Subaru Forester Trime Levels